The Edmond Sun

Local News

May 12, 2014

Police: Watchdog alerts Edmond to potential school violence threat

EDMOND — An anti-school violence organization recently notified an Edmond high school about a potential threat described by a student as “a joke,” an incident report stated.

Edmond Public Schools spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said STG Sentinel notified Santa Fe High School administrators about social media activity on May 2.

Parks-Schlepp said Santa Fe administrators responded immediately by contacting the Edmond Police Department, locating the student and taking the student to the office. Parks-Schlepp said the student’s parent was called immediately.

“Whether a threat is made as a joke, as this student indicated, or with the intent to cause harm, we investigate fully and take all actions possible to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” Parks-Schlepp said.

Regarding the student’s status, Parks-Schlepp said federal privacy laws prohibit the district from releasing information about specific disciplinary action handed down.

Under Edmond Public Schools’ discipline code, last revised in 2002, conduct occurring outside of the normal school day or off school property that has a direct and immediate negative effect on the discipline or educational process or effectiveness of the school will result in disciplinary action, which may include in-school placement options or out-of-school suspension.

In his incident report, Police Officer Paul Phillips responded to the May 2 call and was told by an unidentified person that the National Sentinel Program informed Santa Fe High School that they had found numerous tweets on the social media site Twitter from the student stating he was going to perform a school shooting.

Phillips stated a series of five related tweets began on April 30 and ended about two hours before administrators contacted him. One of the tweets was related to the possibility of the student failing end-of-year instruction tests. In the last tweet, the student stated he isn’t going to act.  

When the student was brought to the office, Phillips stated, he did not find any weapons on him. He said a lot of people on Twitter talk about school shootings because they think it’s funny.

The student said he made the posts to try and get people to follow him, Phillips stated.

After the student’s parent came to the school, the student said it was all a joke and he never meant any of it, Phillips stated. He received consent and conducted searches that turned up no evidence the student was planning or had the means to perform a school shooting, Phillips stated.

Phillips stated he turned paperwork related to threatening an act of violence complaint to the district attorney’s office.

When he contacted the National Sentinel Program (STG Sentinel), he was told it is a privately funded agency. Due to the nature and frequency of the tweets discovered using publicly available social network platforms like Twitter, STG Sentinel decided to contact the high school, Phillips stated.

The organization contacted the school directly because they only provide information about a situation, not any enforcement or advisement services, Phillips stated.

Phillips was directed to STG Sentinel’s website at www.stgsentinel.com.

For a monthly subscription fee, STG Sentinel Watch Center discovers, analyzes and reports open source posts made to social networks that violate the student code of conduct, safety rules or cause a disruption or threat to normal school operations.

STG Sentinel monitors potential disruptions at or near subscriber facilities. Parks-Schlepp said Edmond Public Schools is not a subscriber.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121

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